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Spangdahlem bringing back former vice wing commander

Air Force Col. Joseph D. McFall, left, presents the Legion of Merit to Col. Kelly S. Passmore, at a change of command ceremony on June 10, 2014, at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti.

LESLIE KEOPKA/COURTESY OF THE U.S. AIR FORCE

By JENNIFER H. SVAN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 22, 2015

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Less than a month after its former commander was relieved of duty, Spangdahlem Air Base announced it’s welcoming back a previous leader to take charge of the 52nd Fighter Wing.

A posting on Spangdahlem’s Facebook page said that Col. Joseph D. McFall “will rejoin the Sabers next month,” referring to the wing’s moniker. A wing spokesman confirmed the news Thursday.

McFall, who was the 52nd Fighter Wing’s vice commander from July 2012 to June 2013, won’t have far to go: He’s currently the commander of the 435th Air Ground Operations Wing at Ramstein Air Base, according to his Air Force biography.

Spangdahlem’s previous wing commander, Col. Peter M. Bilodeau, was relieved of duties in late December, less than six months on the job. Air Force officials in Europe said at the time that Bilodeau was removed because of loss of faith and confidence in his leadership, not for any misconduct or wrongdoing.

Col. Lars R. Hubert, the 52nd Fighter Wing vice commander, was appointed interim wing commander.

McFall received his commission through the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1993. A combat pilot, he’s accumulated more than 2,500 flying hours in the F-16.

The 52nd Fighter Wing includes more than 5,500 military and civilian personnel who help maintain and deploy the unit’s F-16 fighters and other military hardware. The base is poised to grow in the next five to seven years. Pentagon officials announced earlier this month that Spangdahlem would gain about 10 CV-22 Ospreys and 10 MC-130J aircraft, together with associated personnel from the 352nd Special Operations Group at RAF Mildenhall in the United Kingdom. The closure of Mildenhall is part of a sweeping reorganization of U.S. forces in Europe recommended by the Pentagon to consolidate infrastructure and save money.

svan.jennifer@stripes.com
 

Col. Joseph McFall
COURTESY U.S. AIR FORCE

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